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It’s Friday,  this morning there was a fog over the lake 100_4139-res But that did not stop the cranes and Carbs the duck from looking for birdseed.  The other birds were busy too, lots and lots of cardinals today. 100_4155res I bet there were about 7 at one time!
When it was time to go fishing, the cranes were still here rooting around the yard. The sky was very dramatic.  100_4171-1res 100_4177res across the lake there was this wonderful rainbow patch just above the treeline.  The sky was full of storms to the east.
Most of the day I had been working on my garden. I think I am going to let more than half of it go back to being grass. The weeding is Hell.
That overgrown patch beyond the crane in the first photo is the garden and I have not weeded in a few months. I am really losing interest in keeping it up. The weeds grow the best, so essentially I have a garden of weeds. and maybe I should just let the whole lawn go to weeds and just mow one three foot area going down to the lake?
Anyway, it was time to fish so I chose a lightning rod,  100_4167res and ran to the lake because there was a great full moon last night. DSC01091res How can I ignore this magnetic call from the lake. I did catch two fish, bream,  100_4169res they are really very pretty fish with rainbow colors on parts of them.  The sky continued to turn blues and I could see the rain coming down a few miles away.  DSC01102-1res The cranes finally gathered on the hill and I grabbed my camera. Excuse how messy the image is as I had messy sticky, gooky fish hands and was trying to touch the camera without holding my hands on it too much. But when I saw the cranes all standing straight in a row waiting to take the cue from the father to leave, I wanted to try and get
a video of them flying practically over my head.
I did give up fishing as the turtles were once again making it impossible to throw the bait out without having a turtle charge right for it.
As I looked up, I noticed how beautiful the sky was, it had melded into pinks and blues, and orange my favorite look.  100_4194res 100_4190res It’s one of those moments you wish you had someone out there besides a duck and cat. The colors were spectacular. So, that’s about it. I came in and Frankie was hogging my desk and had knocked over all kinds of paperwork as she sprawled out.  100_4186res And that’s it for today – where does a day go? Where does the month go? Where does a year go? Can it all just slow down for a while, life is just passing by way too fast…. Tomorrow I will report on the garden

Went to a luncheon put on by the Gateway Center For the Arts, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts. They wanted to thank Victor Thomas, the manager of Stacey’s for his generous support of food during the art receptions. I had never been to Staceys which is about a mile north of Saxon Blvd on 17/92. It’s been there many years under different names: Homers and Duffs. Stacey is Homer the owners daughter.  They also have them in Ohio and other Florida locations.
There was a good line waiting to get in at 1pm when Pam and I went to the meeting. They charge $5.99 for all you can eat and WHAT A DEAL! The food was DELISH!!!! I ate and ate and looked at the dozens of different desserts and my eyeballs almost went into a diabetic shock! They do have the option of sugar-free pies).   003res They had it all, food food food in all descriptions. I ate fried fish and hush puppies, steamed carrots and mac and cheese, broccoli and soup. They had turkey, tacos, meatloaf, fried chicken and much more. Everything was great. I had a lot of fun and so wanted to really take close ups of the food which was beautifully displayed, but knew that was rather tacky.  So just got a few to show.  004res

006res Victor’s wife, Veronica works there also and could not have been more attentive to our needs.  The NMWA & Gateway gave Victor and Veronica a beautiful signed and numbered print from one of the members.
So here’s the thumbs up for a fun afternoon with very nice artists and art supporters and of course, great home cooking, (I never cook anything like this at home,) thanks to Pam for hauling me up there and paying for my lunch, I ate my fill and then some! My turn to get lunch next time!
Back at home, Carbs is still here. 81709carbsmouth-1res Look at duck’s teeth, how uniform, see if you can enlarge to see them. As long as the Band Of Brother mallards stay away, I guess Carbs will stick around. I fished a little while, no bites, but a wonderful breeze blew over the lake. I decided to mow the back instead. Carbs just moved from one side of the yard to the other as I mowed, it didn’t really bother him.
The hurricane is supposed to stay to the east of us, lets hope so. The state of Florida seems to love to gouge us with spiking gas prices as a hurricane approaches, they know we will be gassing our cars and gas cans and any thing that has a gas cap to have the extra gas for generators. It will be reaching about $3.00 a gallon in a week I bet, and maybe sooner if that hurricane comes closer to home. I did fill up a couple gas cans and they are out in the garage, and I can even smell faint fumes in the house – how I hate hate hate everything gasoline. One day they will find an alternative like electric instead! I hate having to gas the lawn mower and blower and having that awful smell on your hands or a few drops on your shoes – YUK!!! But I hate having extra long cords and fooling with electric by the lake!!! One day we should be able to harness the sun with a sensor chip on our lawn equipment!  If I don’t write tomorrow. I have been overcome with gas…

After 4 years of having droughts and very few storms, we are finally back to normal. Back to having the sky change it’s face in the afternoon. 008res

The heat becomes a slow southern burn and the clouds decide to ban together and grow dark and scary. 100_2835res It’s been wonderful having the rain. The lake is coming up nicely and everything is green and fresh and humid, oh the humidity. You open the door to go out and immediately your hair crimps up like the Bride of Frankenstein.  Today I had almost finished mowing when the sky looked a bit crabby so I came in and watched with Ringo.

The lightning
8709ringo-1res flashed across the lake.

The lightning was flashing in front of me as I filmed from the porch. Look for lightning bolt in that big cloud around the middle of the film.  The rain poured down and about a half hour later, it’s about all rained out, in fact. It now looks like fishing time…
Okay, I’m back – the fishing sucked. But at least there were nibbles. Here are some familiar faces that always surface and bug me.

72509desk1This is my desk at 12:51am – maybe I need a blog that shows my desk at different times during the day just for effect! It looks a little messy, but there is a method to my madness. And breakfast at Tiffany it’s not- but that box of POPS was a great deal at the grocery today, 21.4 ounces for $2.50!  Can’t get get perfume per ounce for anywhere near that, not even stuff like nuts, makeup, or even other cereal!  It’s the biggest box of cereal I have ever seen – how could I turn it down? Right now it’s keeping me and my stomach company. I can see how insomniacs gain weight, this box weighs 1 and 1/2 pounds, I should weigh 5 more at the end of the week. Ha ha – just kidding, I don’t intend to eat it all, Adam is about ten feet away and he has been dipping his hand in the box pretty good himself.
Right now I am looking at the huge tree frog on my window, it showed up about an hour ago. 72409frogC-1res I will have photos later at
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Yesterday it seemed like I got a few visitors pictures of things around here. First of all Ringo, because he starts my day with a smile. I see his big face and hear him meow and see him flash those big blues and that is a good sign. 72409ringo-1res Out on the porch was a busy anole running around chasing off the other lizards.  72409anole-1res Went out in the yard and there were a lot of butterflies on and off. Two were flirting for a long time.
72409queenbutterflies-2 There even seemed to be a few monarchs trying to find some milkweed.  72409monarchA-1res Behind the large hibiscus bush I have a tree stump that had a fresh snake skin across it, so a nude snake is somewhere around. DSC09823hibres DSC09822snakeres And later on, just about the time I was getting ready to fish, the clouds came in for a visit and they did not look happy. lastnightcloudsres Even Papa Crane was keeping a close eye on “weather” or not I would be down at the lake. And I wasn’t, we had a lot of lightening, but no rain.  I took many photos of the changing sky and will probably post them tomorrow. But for now, I am finishing this and getting ready to post tree frog pics at the other blogsite –
Sweet dreams – don’t let the tree frogs bite…

71409abbeat2am-1res 2:37am, no rest here.
Earlier tonight I caught a softshell turtle and had to unhook it, they have quite interesting undersides,  100_2300_res but it looked more like some kind of weird alien than a turtle from that angle. The markings are quite unique really, could this be a girl and maybe the boys have blue rectangles? Don’t worry she or he was fine after they got de-hooked.  They scurried back to the water. I HATE catching turtles!
It was actually quite hot and stagnant and I was hoping to get a shot of the rocket launch, but they scrubbed it again.
In the morning I took a few flower pics, DSC06430res The crepe myrtles are gorgeous. And forgot what this plant is, but loved the red flowers on it also. DSC06421res

The moon was even still out at 8am: DSC06419res

The crow was in the tree singing a morning song
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And I had a nice lunch with friends. Came home and worked on more photos. Oh the days go so fast, summer half over – maybe El Nino will save us from the big storms this year! I don’t know, anymore around Florida all we hear about is people getting struck by lightning. I do have to watch more carefully when I am at the lake as the storms roll in,
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The clouds roll in so fast and the lightning is really getting way too familiar with humans. But the storms are actually so wonderful to listen to, especially to hear the rain on the roof at night.  But not tonight, it is just a quiet one, so quiet, I might have to sneak off and go to bed, good…morning again…

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Okay, going a little stir crazy around here! No fishing again! Here we are at the end of daylight, (8pm)  on Sunday and officially the rain total is 19 and 1/2 inches of rain since last Monday AND  it is raining outside as I type. We did get some sunshine outside earlier, but the sun was so blinding and hot, I could not fish. And as it got later, the rains with flashing lightning came in too close and socked us AGAIN! I am thankful that we do not have the flooding many places in Daytona and up the coast had. Saw too many homes with water inside houses and streets that were mini lakes.
The worst thing is the fireants! They have made piles all over the place. I was putting bird food on the stump and my foot and ankle became surrounded and I was taking lots of bites before I could wipe them away. Even when I stood down at the lake, fire ants were everywhere. They bite you putting their whole body into action and leave red dots all over your feet and ankles and I have even had them crawl up my pants and bite me on the thighs! They are little and angry and pack a big punch in their mandibles!  Let’s hope Monday is better – even my sunflower looks like it has had enough being battered for a week by almost 20 inches of rain… 52409burntoutsunflower-1_edited-1

Here it is another day of gray and rain threats, nothing I can do about it and I really don’t even mind it. Somehow it seems like a dreary day you would veg out and listen to Procal Harem or Led “Zep’ – oh I am so 40 years ago aren’t I?
But after three days of ice-cream cookies and junk food, I had to get out.  I ran some errands and did even stop by the marina.
There was nothing floating around in the water and only a few fisherman and very little wildlife, still no muscovy ducks. I did see a couple mallard duck mothers and their ducklings, one had almost a dozen ducklings,  52109mallardclan-3_edited-1 I thought her brood looked well disciplined.  The wind was not as brisk as it had been the past two days of driving rain. The marina waters were pretty calm
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There were a lot of homeless people sitting around the park which is always sad to see. Also saw some vultures
looking bored. vultureresize
I came home and attempted to go fishing, the wind was built up again and there was no use in bothering after several casts came floating back. There was a huge yellow rat snake that I saw and he saw me and he went right over the seawall and into the water. he swam out to the lily pads and did a big loop and came back to the other side of my property, back to dry land. ratsnakeedit The sky looked like it was trying to build some momentum, even Ringo didn’t bother coming out with me which is unusual. The heron family is long gone, the mama never comes to fish anymore, have not seen her since before going to Tampa almost two weeks ago. I do see one of her babies down near the channel that leads from our lake to the next. I have not seen the crane family in almost two weeks.
Tomorrow I take my two photos to the Gateway Center for The Arts for an upcoming show called “Abandoned Houses” – other than that, I am working on a dream series of work to go with some of my poetry and hoping to present that somewhere for an exhibition. Art is never quiet once it infects you, it squirms it’s way out of you and then you must find it a home just like you find a pet a home. Someone has to fall in love with it enough to buy and take home. The best part for the perspective art owner is that the artwork does not have eat, crap or have to be neutered, so there, now go buy some local artists’ pet project!

52009-8am It stormed most of the night! So far we are up almost ten inches. The funny thing is, at a point where there was no rain this morning, I went out to garden a bit and pick up downed tree limbs because you get stir crazy after three days of incarceration. So I transplanted a few canna lilies and the ground about five inches down is dry as dry can be!  It’s just as sandy as if no rain has ever fallen. It is another day of rain and what can I say, same old same old, but at least it is helping with our drought!  The only visitors have been the ducks and regular birds.

52009woodpeckera-1 Okay — so how does one get through the days of liquid peril that assault us? Comfort food of course.  comfortfood1 comfortfood2
comfortfood3 The best is the new Haagen Dazs ice cream “Five”!!!! OMG it’s amazing and it has fruit in it so I am counting that as a fruit suppliment in my daily diet as I count the nuts in the Payday. The cookies count as needed carbs of course. And it does give comfort when the weather is blaring all day long with lightning, thunder and storms all around us and the repeated warnings. It’s all one can do to make it through the day besides petting cats… 52009Frankie2_edited-1

weatheredit The rain became wind driven once it hit about one am. Coming hard from the east mainly.  No lightening or thunder, but the rain is pelting the east side of the house as we speak and winds up to 20mph. All night as I slept off and on, I was aware of the sound. Got up at 5am to make sure garage floor didn’t have anything that could be wrecked by rain coming in. They say we could get up to 7 inches today and I believe it. That’s great news though I don’t understand why mother nature has to throw it down all at once, it’s almost like Fay last year.  These weather patterns are so odd anymore. I’m sure there will be a lot of flooding all around Florida. When it gets light and stops raining so hard, I’ll take a picture of the water meter. Yesterday this is what it looked like around 10am. monday8am The rain had just begun to really hit. When I took a photo last night after fishing, the water was up to the 130 number gaining about 2 inches. I fully expect it to be around 135 when I see it next this morning.  Frankie the cat had sense and came in last night. Old Church toughed it out on porch and came in this morning only to pee and eat and ran back outside to the wet porch again. I think I have the only cat that comes in to use the box and goes back out! I don’t see Ringo, but I know he is high and dry somewhere. Later…

guage519 8:am, the water gauge is up past 160, that’s 4 inches of rain! And if you notice, the small meter is back under the water once again.  The birds must be sleeping in the trees as there is not one that has come for breakfast. At least for now, wind and rain have slacked off which gives it time to absorb in Florida’s deep sand heap!
Now it’s 7:35. meter reading is at 1.80, that means we have had 6 1/2 inches so far! 51909meter-edited-1_edited-1 It clearly was a day for the ducks! 51909duckinrain-1_edited-1

and as for Ringo, he was asleep inside the whole time! ringoyawn-1 more cats at http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

WAIT, it is now 12:35am and we are having wrapping rainbands and winds just like we are in a hurricane! outside the trees are swaying hard and the wind is pushing things around out there. I can constantly hear my loose porch door. The rain is coming at a slant and very hard. We are back in a yellow band of full force water. I bet when I get up tomorrow and can go out, I bet we have 5 more inches. We are getting slammed. weatheredit There were a couple tornados not too far away.  It’s hard to sleep with all this noise of nature. There seems to be a low pressure area mixing with the cold front and it is in some twirly mood circling around the middle of the state. We had our electric go out once, but came right back. I do have our flashlights ready.  I am always happy I made the decision to take the trees out that hung over the house, too risky having those huge pines that close.  I can’t imagine that my toilets will flush, will be able to tell that later.  The winds are very very active, at one point I thought it might break through, in fact it is doing it again as I write. Maybe I better think about getting this out and looking for a safe place… will write later…

This is a peek at the start of the day — will add more later RAIN BEAUTIFUL RAIN –

51809waether_edited-1 518rainbarrel_edited-1I bet Beda is outside watching her rain barrel filled, mine is splashing out of the top – full to the brim, looks like night ouside right now at 10:26am, glad I have nowhere to go this morning…

The afternoon slid by and now on the evening is still just a blur of hazy gray with soft rain, enough to add about 2 inches to the lake today.  shadowplane-1 The birds were quite busy, mostly blackbirds that looked nasty.  51809wetcrow-1_edited The woodpecker and bluejays all jockeyed in for positions too. The birds always seem active during moderate rains.  And yes, crazy Abbe did go out and try to dodge the rain and fish. The turtles were out in full speed mode, and an anhinga sat in the tree. Last night I had 3 anhinga on the pine where I fish.
3anhinga-1_editedTonight, there was one who is very distinct in her coloration.  51709anhingaA-1_edited

I finally gave up the water fight and came in and the anhinga came down, sat a few minutes and then took off.anhingaedited

51809anhingaflies-1_edited It was a wet one today and if it continues as it is supposed to, maybe we will have a half a foot added to the lake and my lawn will even green up. I don’t see any negative downside to this, except trying to keep my camera dry when chasing wildlife in the rain…

Where is it? They keep promising rain and once again in the same pattern for the third year, it seems to rain all around us, but not here.
51409waterlevel-1_editedIf you look at the photo with the water gauge, you can see we have lost all the inches of water since Fay last August. The top of the other small meter is showing. The level is down about 30 inches and each day that sun sucks away about an inch more. The sky will cloud up and look like impending doom above us. 51409stormclouds-1_edited It looks mean and ready to strike, but moves along, just drifts away to storm on someone else. I love a great thunderstorm, all that juice built up in the atmosphere brewing away with lightning to heat it and thunder to give it drama. I was eating lunch with my friend Leslie today in Lake Mary at Toojays where there is no recession.  It’s about 4 miles from my house and as I left the restaurant, droplets began to fall and about 2 miles from the house, it was raining very steadily until I get about two blocks from home and the look was there, but no rain. I went inside and framed a couple pics for an art show and no rain still.  Finally we got a few drops about 4pm, but not enough to even cover the driveway completely.  That meant of course I could go fishing since there was no lightening threat. Too bad the fish were as scare as the rain. All I had were the two pesky turtles that have been bugging me for this past week.    51409turtle&Ringo-1_edited They are bold and chase my bait all over the lake wherever I stand.  Ringo the cat was not sure if he should go after it or not, but decided the slimy shelled red-eared slider wasn’t worth the bother.
The birds too seemed on edge today, they were busy going after each other at the stump. Chasing each other off.  51409blackbird&woodpecker-1_edited 51409trioofbirds-1_edited It was entertaining.
Later, around 7pm, a young raccoon came to the porch. The cats did not care for him, infact, Frankie, the female tried to fight with him, the raccoon did not want to fight thank goodness.

51409Frank&raccoon-1_edited Then Church gave him the staredown  51409Church&raccoonB-1_edited and he finally left.  The night sky changed 51409sunset-1_edited and it looked like a very calming end to the evening. Cross your fingers for tomorrow and for my buddy Beda who just got a new rain barrel who anxiously awaits it filling up. And one last thing, here’s a sight I came across walking a couple days ago,  51409armadillo-1_edited-1 it was a three legged armadillo, he was walking faster than me!

Waiting to get pounded – under tornado warnings. All around us are straight line winds and maybe some hail. Outside it is as dark as night almost.   resize41409meter

We are now getting pounded, lots of rain and wind battering down. No thunder, no lightning. The aluminum roof over the porch is singing with the rain. The heron was here earlier as I had mowed and I’m sure she thought I was going to fish also. She sat in a tree for a half hour grooming.

41409heronb-1resize The woodpecker too is snug in his tree hole. earlier he was watching the sky. I fully expect to lose electricity anytime before I am through. I am hoping there is no tornado coming out of this, but maybe I should unpack the linen closet just in case, it’s our only safe room here that has no window or sky light.
Now the lightning has started. Ripples of competing thunder trailing close. The television news blaring reports.  Sounding like the war of the Gods out there! Lots of thunder in all directions, but rain has slacked off a bit.   Feel really bad for anyone in a car stuck in the middle of one of the cells they show on television. Funnel clouds have been sighted west of here. Will publish for now and hope to be back a little later, cause I’m not going anywhere unless I am blown away, literally…
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P/S — It’s almost 11:am, the storm seems to be fizzling out, but can feel a slight coolness to the air. The bulk of storms are now headed east. Still have storms around us, but weather nothing like what is headed toward the east coast! The rain is falling at a  perfect rate for absorption and boy do we need it. Will do a comparison meter at very end of blog tonight!
I should take a cue from the cats and go take a nap, they are not the least concerned, and are still on the porch, don’t seem to care about coming in. Sometimes I think the wisdom of cats is a better predictor than the weatherman.
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And of course, the damn Band of brothers is skirt chasing the Pekins at the lake.

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dsc01244 Finally today it rained nicely in the afternoon. It was how it’s supposed to be,
the thunder clouds developed, the lightning flashed and the rain came
sheeting down. It really feels so alive, so electric! We also had some tornado
warnings, but luckily, nothing happened. 4109bayheroninrain-1The baby heron was drenched having no protection.

After all the soaking, the sky cleared
and the hour struck;  fishing time!
The mother heron flew right in over my head 4109motherheronfliesoverhead-1_edited-1

and took her place at the lake to the side of me. Mama heron watched to see if I would toss her a fish.
The baby heron was walking over toward us and
saw his mother, he came alive: his wings extended, 4109babyseesmomc-1

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he hurried over to get as close as he could to her and flapped and flapped trying to get her attention.
He made his prehistoric plea, he jumped and ran to the edge of the sea wall. He was
ecstatic, overjoyed to see that familiar face who fed him. And in his little, baby
bird mind, I’m sure baby heron thought he was going back to the nest, that his dreams were going to come true, surely his mother would help him back to safety, back to where he would get a nice meal and spend time with the sibling who is still up there, but that was not to be. The mother would not even look at him. She ignored all his waving and sqwacking and his unbridled joy.  He continued for a few minutes more and then gave up, his head went down and he walked off in the opposite direction.
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Poor thing, so  depressed and rejected, so full of hope and then so full of sadness.
No one can tell me that animals don’t feel! That baby heron looked at
his mother with the need of any child waiting to go home again, wanting to be protected and fed.

I am still not sure if he is eating too well. I see him down by the water pulling at weeds and I even brought him a small plastic bucket with a dozen live goldfish and placed it under his tree where he sleeps only to find the damn ducks trying to splash out the water and the fish. I know the heron did not eat any.
Oh my heart hurts for the feathered baby, his spirit tonight was broken. He still cannot figure out what his wings do or how to catch a fish, he is lacking in so many skills. And there is no way I can catch him, he runs if I start to advance in its direction. All I hope is he toughens up and learns all the skills he needs to grow strong. It will be a wonderful day when I can tell you I saw his first flight, it will be with the excitement of a mother watching her babies first steps!

Another avian experience today: I was driving with a friend to show her the marina in Sanford and on the road that runs parallel with Lake Monroe, a damn duck flew right into my truck, BANG! Its’ thick flying body hit hard but luckily it didn’t get bashed too badly, I looked back and didn’t see it on the road or side, so I suppose it made it to where it was going. What’s with me and these crazy damn ducks???

I found two more abandoned duck eggs in the lake this morning.  I figure they were just  more unfertilized eggs and put them by the stump for the blackbirds to enjoy.
The baby crane was on the island walking with her parents, but could not get a clear photo. The baby heron actually came across my lake front and perched next door on a downed limb overlooking the lake. I figured I would fish a while and maybe his mother would fly down and notice her missing baby. That didn’t happen. But I did catch a small bream and threw it within ten feet of him. The heron did not notice until the fish began struggling and the heron’s  whole body language changed; his neck elongated, he stood straight and rushed for the fish which tumbled forward back into the lake, he lost the fish, but did show a big interest. Maybe later when I fish I will but a bucket of fish under his norfolk pine so he can have a midnight snack!
The ducks were swimming around the water near the shore line when suddenly Crabs jumped on one of the twins.
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He totally dominated her holding her lily-white neck with his beak and submerging her little Peking face over and over underwater. At one point it looked like he would drown her.

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Poor little girl was so very distressed looking. Ducks are such
hardcore lovers! It did not last long, but the Peking duck left aside was so concerned, she quacked and was noticeably cognizant that something weird was going on and stayed as close to the pair as she could. It looked like a waterboarding technique as the poor Peking’s
face kept disappearing under the water. Finally he turned sideways and dismounted.
Daisy and Lily were then side by side and Carbs swam on shore and slept, (typical male). The girls swam around for awhile and did come on shore and walked around. I have those two other eggs I put on the porch yesterday and will see if they show signs of life in a couple days.
Once we had a poor female muscovy come visit a few years ago, she came on the property and at that time we had the ‘band of brothers’, three mixed mallard looking ducks that stayed together all the time. When they came ashore and saw the female, all three of them were trying to gang rape the poor duck. She was panicing and went into the corner of where my porch and house form and L and the males tried ravaging her. I took a broom and shooed them away and got her on the porch for a while until the males finally left, (the next day). The muscovy seemed fine away from the males and when I left the door back open, she looked hesitant upon leaving. Ducks “do it” with anger, the attitude of the male duck in mating mode is downright cruel. I am happy to say the girls seem no worse for the wear.
I suppose if Elvis visits tomorrow, Carbs can dish out his mating details. Dee, my neighbor might be right about inviting one muscovy and you get them all. I guess I could set up a duck egg stand every morning for fresh duck eggs- and a free duck to go with it…

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And now we have 3!  Another muscovy was out swimming with Carbs the duck and that other male muscovy that comes from time to time. Bella the Chihuahua was trying to herd them, she had already done a great job of turning the crane away. We are expecting rain and a big cold front, so I must go hurry down to lake and try out my new rod holder my brother bought for me at Gander Mountain.
Yesterday I had to take down my artwork at the Maitland Library, got there just before they opened and that is one busy library, even some tourists came in asking for things to see around Maitland and Winter Park and the librarian gave them great information. Afterwards I walked to Lake Lily which is a wonderful and calm park with a round the lake walk way. My purpose was to look at the muscovy ducks and see how they differ. And there were a lot, too many to show all the photos I took. The best thing was the turtles are not freaked out by people and actually sit close to shore. dsc00587

Ut oh, clouds building, have to fish before rain – be back later    100_5090

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Morning brings the cranes flying over for breakfast and fast moving clouds. The southern winds are blowing the warm gulf moisture toward the north. This afternoon the north cold front will clash with this warm mass and BANG, we should hear some activity! I was gardening in front this morning and watched a big otter cross from little Lake Amory into the canal that leads to our lake. I rushed in and waited and waited to see it swimming, but not a sign of it. Oh well, I will shower and look for it later… you know there will be a photo if I see it! Stay tuned

Today looks better for us so far, hurricane Ike is way south of here and hopefully he will stay that way, EXCEPT, he is headed toward where my brother and his family live and have lived for 25 years, Key West.
I don’t want it to go there either as they are just enjoying their house they had to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina flooded it with 2 feet of water. You don’t hear much about what Katrina did to the Keys, but it was very bad down there too. Though their new house is built up nine feet,  the big worry would be the wind.
They love Key West, my sister-in-law and neice will get out of the way of the storm, but not my salty dog little brother. He will stay and hunker down, (or up in his case) and try and weather it out. I am hoping it will have down graded at that point to a Cat. 0ne from passing over Cuba. We have about 36 hours to see what will happen.
The other pictures were my happy wake up flying things this morning. The cranes were happily sitting down over looking the lakes, the white heron was a wonderful unexpected surprise and so many butterflies
are all over. Everyone has told me that they have lots of variaties coming through their yards.
The water level is up which is good because in another 6 weeks that will be about the topper for the winter months. At least so far we have a decent level in comparison to last year at this time. These tropical systems are certainly helping us recover from drought, but some places around here are still too wet. Homes still underwater. Let’s hope that the wings for Sunday include a fast moving Ike that weakens and does not do too much more damage to the people and property it decides to land upon. I feel fortunate that the hurricane shutters can stay in the garage and we can look out at the bright sunshine and breathe a sigh of relief, at least I hope this thing does not come back to bite us….

How many storms can come our way? Hannah one way, Gustav another – all that energy around here is driving all of us crazy. It’s called the waiting game. We are bombarded with media all day about the proximity and the track of the storms. When it gets closer, the Governor will have a big appearance with all his staff and emergency management to look authoritative. It’s all pretty much the summer drill for our politicians.
   The water gauge has fallen by over 3 inches on my lake, yet  the St. John’s river continues to rise, but has not crested quite yet. Sinkholes and wash-outs are common when the ground has shifted from the rain water and big holes appear on property and roads eating the air pockets under the land, some of those holes are very deep.
   The baby crane is losing his juvenile head feathers and becoming a little more red. The other heron I saw by a lake today and quickly snapped his picture. I have been very busy all week and have not taken many photos. I must get back in the swing.
   An afternoon storm is headed our way, can hear thunder now…the lake goes up, the lake goes down…I hope I can fish tonight, I need to feel that line tug with a bass…

   This morning (9:ooam) water gauge is up to 1.28, so it has risen over 3 inches since Monday. We are still getting rain bands coming through, but really they are more wind bands than rain. Another gray day, have not seen birds this morning. The cranes came last night and then took off.
   We were spared any tornadoes and large rain amounts of those to the east of the storm down along the Atlantic coast. Some places flooding up with up to 15 inches. I would not be here to write if that were the case at my house. I would be swimming out  of here.
  As for Fay, she is near Cape Canaveral and trying to gain her momentum again so she can hit us as a hurricane up the coast between daytona and Jax. She is persistant and so very very slow. This is the slowest tropical storm I ever saw. We may be feeling these effects through Friday then must watch another system trying “its’ wings” out in the Carribean.
   update later in day….

5pm

Whoa, this gal Fay is crazy! This storm has really been a weird one. It has strengthened a little and is expected now to go out into the ocean and become a hurricane and come back and hit Florida again!
As for my neighborhood, winds have been on and off, rain on and off, maybe an inch since morning check. It is planning on sticking around and getting us good and wet tonight and possibly being a pain in the rear till Friday. Mother Nature is on the rampage, there’s no rhyme or reason to who she picks on, but one thing for sure, she loves to rampage through mobile home parks!

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